Who’ll Take the Throne from LeBron? Can Kawhi Leonard Rule Next Decade? — Lakerholics

As the reigning Finals MVP and a two-time NBA champion, Kawhi Leonard is another superstar whom, like Giannis Antetokounmpo, certain analysts believe has now passed LeBron James as the best player in the NBA.

Who’ll Take the Throne from LeBron? Can Kawhi Leonard Rule Next Decade? — Lakerholics

Preakness set for Oct. 3, fate of Belmont still undecided — nyob.news

Two-thirds of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown now have rescheduled race dates. It just remains to be seen when the New York Racing Association will attempt to conduct the 152nd running of the Belm.

Preakness set for Oct. 3, fate of Belmont still undecided — nyob.news

144th Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 18, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Credit: Getty Images/Rob Carr

Two-thirds of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown now have rescheduled race dates.

It just remains to be seen when the New York Racing Association will attempt to conduct the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes, typically the final leg of the series. For now, it is still scheduled for June 6, though NYRA has postponed the start of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saturday was supposed to be the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Instead, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced on NBC that the race is now scheduled for Oct. 3.

The Kentucky Derby, typically Triple Crown’s first leg, had already been re-scheduled for Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky instead of the 146th running taking place on May 2 as originally planned.

Some clarity on the Belmont Stakes is expected soon.

On Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced horse racing could resume in New York state – without fans in the grandstands – on June 1.

NYRA president and CEO Dave O’Rourke released a statement on Friday applauding Gov. Cuomo’s decision and indicating, “NYRA will announce race dates and a corresponding stakes schedule for the 2020 spring/summer meet at Belmont Park in the very near future.”

“This is a reasoned and responsible decision by Governor Cuomo that will enable horse racing to resume in a way that prioritizes health and safety while recognizing that NYRA is the cornerstone of an industry responsible for 19,000 jobs and $3 billion in annual economic impact,” O’Rourke said. “We look forward to the resumption of live racing at Belmont Park with all appropriate health and safety protocols in place to support the hundreds of small businesses, family-owned farms and thousands of hourly workers who form the backbone of thoroughbred racing in New York.”Subscribe to Sports Now newsletter

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NYRA continued to conduct racing without fans at Aqueduct from March 13-15 before announcing on March 19 it was suspending its meet.

However, work has continued at Belmont Park, just without the live racing.

Around 1,400 horses are currently on the 440-acre property with about 800 backstretch workers maintaining the horses’ training regimens.

NYRA officials have sent a detailed proposal to Gov. Cuomo as to how racing can resume – quickly – without a live audience.

“NYRA has developed a comprehensive safety plan that builds on our experience of operating training safely and responsibly during the pandemic, and includes extensive protocols to keep our community safe,” O’Rourke said.

Agent seeks Zion Williamson’s answers on improper benefits — FOX 46 Charlotte

AP — The marketing agent who has sued NBA rookie Zion Williamson wants the former Duke star to answer questions about whether he received improper benefits before playing his lone season with the Blue Devils. Prime Sports Marketing and company president Gina Ford filed a lawsuit last summer in a Florida court, accusing Williamson and the agency […]

Agent seeks Zion Williamson’s answers on improper benefits — FOX 46 Charlotte

Preston Tucker wins car after hitting homer in KBO League — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Outfielder Preston Tucker of the Kia Tigers won a Kia Sorento when he hit a ball that landed in the “Home Run Zone” on Sunday.

Preston Tucker wins car after hitting homer in KBO League — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Former MLB outfielder Preston Tucker has gotten off to a blazing hot start in the KBO League. Entering Sunday’s action, Tucker was hitting .475/.543/.925 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 46 plate appearances.
Tucker kept up the hot hitting on Sunday and won himself a car in the process. Per MLB.com’s Alex Fast, Tucker’s fifth home run — a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning — hit the “Home Run Zone” just beyond the fence in right-center field at Kia Challengers Field. There, a Kia Sorento perches on a small platform. Tucker’s blast appeared to strike the roof of the car. Players who homer into the “Home Run Zone” win the car as a prize.



Preston Tucker won a Kia Sorento today.

He’s currently tied for the HR lead in the KBO with 5.



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The blast was not enough, however, as Tucker’s Tigers lost to the Doosan Bears 6-4. The homer was Tucker’s only hit on the afternoon.
Tucker, 29, spent parts of three seasons in Major League Baseball from 2015-18 with the Astros, Braves, and Reds. In total, he hit .222/.281/.403 with 23 home runs and 68 RBI in 651 trips to the plate.

Report: Italian professional team offers contract to Davide Moretti — KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com

MILAN — Italian professional team Olympia Milano has offered Davide Moretti a multi-year contract, according to a report on Sunday morning. Moretti has one year left at Texas Tech, and he would have to forgo his final season if he accepts the contract. In three years as a Red Raider, Moretti has averaged 9.1 points […]

Report: Italian professional team offers contract to Davide Moretti — KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com

German Bundesliga Returned Without Fans And It Was A Weird Scene — NESN.com

The German Bundesliga on Saturday became the first of the major European soccer leagues to make a return after the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports across the globe, but it didn’t exactly pick up where it left off. Things looked a little different because, of course, resuming the season amid COVID-19 concerns means extra precautions…

German Bundesliga Returned Without Fans And It Was A Weird Scene — NESN.com

The German Bundesliga on Saturday became the first of the major European soccer leagues to make a return after the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports across the globe, but it didn’t exactly pick up where it left off. Things looked a little different because, of course, resuming the season amid COVID-19 concerns means extra precautions were taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Especially after a few of its players tested positive for the virus leading up to the first matchday since March. Between not having fans and social distancing efforts, the welcomed return of the Bundesliga was also a bit of a weird scene. Let’s just say, elite European soccer is just not the same without fans. Especially a league that’s normally so accessible to fans, as the Bundesliga is. Rather than the sound of chants and vuvuzelas from the crowd, you could hear echos of the players communication on the field loud and clear. Still, as tradition, after Borussia Dortmund defeated Schalke 04, its players played tribute to the “Yellow Wall,” or the would-be section of their fans behind the goal that would be there during normal times. Maybe it wasn’t the same without fans, but it sure beats nothing at all. Admittedly, rebroadcasts of games only move the needle so much. For soccer fans, there’s really nothing like posting up on the couch with a cup of coffee for a Saturday morning of futebol. And while things were different from a fan perspective, imagine being one of the players or staffers in attendance? On the bench were reserves from every team donning face masks and sitting a few feet apart from each other. And post-game media interviews weren’t your usual scrum of reporters suffocating players with their recorders. Social distancing efforts led to some pretty strange goal celebrations, too, with elbow bumps and awkward dancing. The social distancing celebration thing seemed a little strange to some fans, especially the ones being reminded that soccer is very much a contact sport. The good news is, the bizarreness continues Sunday and Monday with three more matches, so maybe we’ll get used to sports during COVID-19 times soon.

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/05/german-bundesliga-returned-without-fans-and-it-was-a-weird-scene/

Alex Cora Hints He Might Be Done With Managing Even When Suspension Lifts — NESN.com

Have we seen the last of Alex Cora as a Major League Baseball manager? Cora is suspended through the 2020 season for his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. But even when his suspension lifts, the 44-year-old Cora might not pursue a managerial job. Friday night, a Twitter troll told Cora his managing days…

Alex Cora Hints He Might Be Done With Managing Even When Suspension Lifts — NESN.com
Have we seen the last of Alex Cora as a Major League Baseball manager? Cora is suspended through the 2020 season for his role in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. But even when his suspension lifts, the 44-year-old Cora might not pursue a managerial job. Friday night, a Twitter troll told Cora his managing days “are over.” In response, the former Boston Red Sox skipper said, “Maybe I want to do something else.” Take a look: Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/05/alex-cora-hints-he-might-be-done-with-managing-even-when-suspension-lifts/

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/05/alex-cora-hints-he-might-be-done-with-managing-even-when-suspension-lifts/

Liljegren shooting for top-six role on Leafs blue line, whenever that might be — Toronto Sun

Comfort and confidence have Timothy Liljegren in an optimistic frame of mind as the defenceman looks ahead to the 2020-21 hockey season. Read More

Liljegren shooting for top-six role on Leafs blue line, whenever that might be — Toronto Sun
Comfort and confidence have Timothy Liljegren in an optimistic frame of mind as the defenceman looks ahead to the 2020-21 hockey season.
The X factor, of course, is not knowing when he will take his next on-ice stride in the Maple Leafs organization.
“It’s going pretty good, just trying to stay in shape as much as I can,” Liljegren said on Saturday from his off-season home in Sweden. “But it’s weird. Usually there are different steps in the summer workout, but now you don’t really know when things are going to start up again.”
All the while, Liljegren, who said he has been on the ice “a couple of times” as Sweden didn’t impose a similar kind of restrictive lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic that we’ve experienced in North America, has a fairly simple goal.
During a conference call last week with reporters, Leafs assistant general manager Laurence Gilman, who also serves as the Toronto Marlies general manager, said he would “be surprised” if Liljegren doesn’t play in top seven or eight defencemen with the Leafs next season.
Liljegren has a desire to go one better.
“For sure, my goal is to get into the top six,” Liljegren said. “I played three years in the AHL and I had 11 games (with the Leafs) this year, so I think the next step would be to try to crack the roster full-time.”
After making his NHL debut on Jan. 18 against the Chicago Blackhawks — and becoming the answer to a trivia question as he became the 1,000th player in Leafs franchise history — Liljegren participated in the 2020 AHL all-star classic before getting recalled by the Leafs, playing in eight games in February and two more in March.
In those 11 games with the Leafs, there were some bumps, which was to be expected. Liljegren was on the ice for eight goals against during five-on-five play and three for, while averaging 10 minutes 18 seconds of ice a game, and in possession, he had a mark of 43.7%.
But the man behind the Leafs bench, Sheldon Keefe, was instrumental in Liljegren’s growth with the Marlies. From Keefe’s guidance with the farm club, as well as that of the assistant coaches, came discipline in Liljegren’s game.
“He has taught me to play through structure, but still be creative within that structure,” Liljegren said. “I’ve learned when to calculate the risks of being creative and choosing the right time to do certain things.
“Just the fact he has seen me play for three years is good for him and me. He knows what I can develop, and I know what I can do when he is coaching.
“He helped me a lot with the transition to the NHL.”
Liljegren indicated he would be part of the Leafs’ group of Black Aces when, or if, the 2019-20 regular season or playoffs are resumed.
In the event there is no conclusion of 2019-20 and we don’t see NHL hockey again until the start of the 2020-21 season, whenever that might be, Liljegren would be just one of two right-shooting defencemen (as of today) in the Leafs mix, along with Justin Holl. Neither Tyson Barrie nor Cody Ceci, both righties, are expected to re-sign with Toronto in free agency.
Recently signed Mikko Lehtonen, who shoots left, said he would be comfortable on the right side.
Liljegren doesn’t necessarily see a lack of right-handed shots on the Leafs blue line as an advantage in his favour.
“I think every team wants a right-hand defenceman on the right side, but if there is a player who is better than you, you’re not going to play,” Liljegren said. “It matters a bit, but you still have to be better than the next guy.”
If Liljegren, who turned 21 on April 30, does become a Leafs regular in ’20-’21, he would join six other recent Toronto first-round picks in the lineup, including Morgan Rielly, Frederik Gauthier (assuming he still is with the Leafs), William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews and Rasmus Sandin.
“I gained confidence from playing at that stage, and the feeling that I can play at that level,” Liljegren said. “Gaining that experience is going to help me a lot in the future.”
tkoshan@postmedia.com
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